Why people don't use free software
Oct 14, 2009 GMT
Whenever ideas run short, columnists and bloggers like to pontificate about why free and open source software isn't more successful. Inevitably, they trot out the same old explanations. Microsoft's monopoly, lack of vendor support, community unfriendliness and infighting, and inertia are some of the most popular ones.
Not having anything new to contribute (or any shortage of ideas to run about), I've avoided such discussions until now. Recently, though, my efforts to persuade people to use free software have suggested to me an explanation so simple that it is seldom... more »
Writing about FOSS sexism
Oct 09, 2009 GMT
A month ago, I wrote an article about sexism in the free and open source software (FOSS) community. The result has been educational, to say the least. It's one thing to know about issues intellectually, and quite another to plunge headlong into a firestorm of reactions.
So what have I learned exactly? To start with, while members of the FOSS community like to think of themselves as rational beings, when subjects like gender issues are raised, emotion swamps logic to an alarming degree.... more »
A belated report on the mini-summit on women in free software
Oct 01, 2009 GMT
(Ordinarily, I wouldn't report on an event that happened almost two weeks ago. However, considering how little attention the Free Software Foundation (FSF)'s mini-summit on women in free software has received, and the importance of the issues it discussed, I'm making an exception here).
According to Stormy Peters, executive director of the GNOME Foundation, the subject of women's lack of involvement in FOSS is not new. "It was just time again to have the... more »
Mono: A modest proposal
Sep 23, 2009 GMT
OK, I'm conflicted.
According to one report, last Saturday at the Software Freedom Day event in Boston, Richard Stallman called Miguel de Icaza “a traitor to the Free Software community" because of de Icaza's involvement with Microsoft-based technologies like Mono and Moonlight. On the one hand, I can easily imagine the frustrations that led to this description. But, on the other hand, before members of the free software movement applauds the description, I hope they will... more »
How GNOME and KDE spend their money
Sep 16, 2009 GMT
Quarterly reports are the stuff of business. In most people's minds, they are as far from the spirit of free and open source software (FOSS) as anyone can imagine. All the same, as non-profit organizations, many FOSS projects issue them. And while your first reaction may be to avoid quarterly reports, they can give some insights into projects, especially if you read between the lines.
For instance, if you have been assuming, as I have, that GNOME has more corporate support than KDE, and a larger budget, a look at the latest report for more »
GNOME's new Font Manager
Sep 13, 2009 GMT
One key configuration tool that has been missing from GNOME for years is a font manager. In fact, years ago, I often installed KDE primarily so I would have a graphical font manager. In recent years, the situation has improved with applications like Fonty Python and Fontmatrix, but I'm always watching for new applications that will save the drudgery of manual installation and management. more »
LUbuntu: A desktop pared down for action
Sep 03, 2009 GMT
Two years ago, when I last looked at LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), no code had been committed for over a year, and many believed that the project was dead. Since then, LXDE has greatly revived, attracting a new team of developers, and being offered on a number of distributions. Recently, the project has released a test release of LUbuntu, an official mutation of Ubuntu that may one day become official. Running more »